PATRICK SPACE FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Space Launch Delta 45 takes a leap in innovation, thanks to The Forge, by becoming home to two Ghost Robotic Quadruped Unmanned Ground Vehicles (Q-UGV). With the addition of the Q-UGV’s, several tasks will be made automated by the additional detection and alert capability, allowing defenders more time to become proficient while enhancing our security as we take this next step into the future.
“When our commander, Brig. Gen. Purdy, approached The Forge he mentioned wanting more situational awareness on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Patrick Space Force Base,” said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Andrew Cuccia, chief innovation officer. “Complete situational awareness was a tall order, but we reached out to industry partners to integrate emerging technology to meet requirements.”
After some investigation, Cuccia was able to find Ghost Robotics, a business that has also collaborated with other military locations.
“As I learned more about their technology, I saw other areas where their robots could
enhance our mission effectiveness at SLD 45,” said Cuccia. “Ghost Robotics Q-UGVs present an enormous force multiplying, time saving, and tactical advantage for disaster recovery and force protection”
As a team, the 45th Security Forces Squadron, Det 1, and The Forge developed three main uses to submit for a research opportunity through the Small Business Innovation Research Program - an Air Force Program that awards funding to qualified small businesses across the nation that demonstrate the potential to deliver innovative technologies. These three uses are:
Beach side security
Launch mishap response
HURCON ride out team augmentation
“Using the Q-UGVs as automated damage assessment and patrol robots, we save significant man hours which could be allocated to other activities requiring human logic and decision making,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Kimberly Rumph, superintendent of innovation and technology. “Whether it's a safety incident or for persistent security operations, our personnel can deploy the robot, assess a scenario, and provide Guardians and Airmen with clearer situational awareness.”
As they patrol sensitive regions, the Q-UGV robots can be outfitted with a wide range of optical and auditory sensors, as well as cutting-edge multi-directional, thermal, and infrared video capabilities. This allows them to serve as the "eyes and ears" for defenders.
“The robots allow 45 SFS to either deploy them via a handheld device from an office or to patrol by themselves,” said Rumph. “If there is an anomaly the Q-UGV would alert the defenders so they are being sent to where they are needed instead of persistently driving up and down the beach.”
The presence of the robots at SLD 45 contributes to our defender’s overall safety in a number of ways.
“If there is an incident on the pad it could potentially create a dangerous environment with chemicals from the rocket,” said Cuccia. “Instead of sending in a defender, we can deploy the robot, assess a scenario and provide Airman and Guardians with clearer situational awareness and a decision advantage.”
The Q-UGV's identify hazardous or poisonous situations, potentially saving many lives while also speeding up accurate reaction times to incidents and aiding in the recovery of survivors from natural catastrophes like hurricanes.
“There are teams tasked with an additional duty to go out and assess damage after a hurricane,” said Rumph. “There could be damage to the causeways on the way to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, and you don’t know how long it will take to get a response.”
With the Q-UGV robots on the scene, they will be able to be deployed as soon as a hurricane passes through to begin assessing damage to vital infrastructure, and rapidly transmit the information back to defenders.
The Ghost Robotic Vision 60 Q-UGVs are only one example as we advance into the future. SLD 45 will continue to look for and put into practice new innovative ideas, utilizing cutting-edge technologies.